Mobilizing and Monetizing The Lobby Experience

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | March 11, 2012

Jackpot!

That's the exclamation (not to mention double entendre) that's likely doing cartwheels inside the heads of corporate higher ups and casino/hotel bookkeepers that are busy tallying their property's profits. It's a joy especially potent considering that a large portion of the green in their piggy banks stems from those very same gaming additions.

It may seem obvious to any Las Vegas traveler who's ever stepped foot in the MGM Grand, The Bellagio, or Mandalay Bay, but it's important to remember that at sometime, at some point, hotel designers reached this no-brainer conclusion: Instead of building casinos and hotels as separate structures, why not build them as single entities? Better still, why not pair the hotel and casino branding? That way, room rates, the mainstay for a hotel's revenue, can be partnered with an entirely new income stream: gambling money. Everybody knows tourists are coming to cities like Las Vegas to try their hand (and luck) at the one-armed bandit. Why not give hotel guests what they want right in the lobby, and monetize the experience?

A simple idea, for sure, but it's the aesthetic and business success at the root of the world-famous Las Vegas strip. And when it comes to creating revenue opportunities in common spaces, the burgeoning world of mobile, digital signage and location-aware technologies could learn a thing or two. Like the resort-casino model, mobile's next frontier - or certainly a frontier as it relates to hotels, is the lobby. It's a potential revenue, entertainment and loyalty source so significant that hoteliers who choose to mobilize their lobbies should be shouting "jackpot" too.

Mobile's Winning Combination: Engage, Entertain, Enjoy

Of all the places mobile technology has reached, (through smartphones or tablets) it's surprising that the hotel lobby has yet to be tapped – even less so than the hotel room, which is beginning, finally, to find its digital footing.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.